Manning Sumner was a promising college football player until he broke his back, ending his NFL dream. But he reinvented himself, created his “No Days Off” mantra and became the prolific founder of multiple Legacy Gyms in South Florida.

On breaking his back playing high school football:

“As a junior in high school, I played nine games with a broken back and was misdiagnosed. They told me that I had pulled a muscle in my back. So, I got MRI’s, X-Rays, all these things, from renowned doctors and they misdiagnosed me. So, I’m literally playing in nine games with a broken back and after the games I would stand outside of my truck – I grew up in Alabama so I had the lifted truck – and I would stand outside my truck just bawling crying because I couldn’t even get into my truck.”

When he knew his NFL dream was over:

“You go to Auburn University, that’s an SEC school, you’re playing with the big boys. You assume you’re going to the pros. There’s nothing about you that says you’re not. Like, you are going to be a professional athlete. And so when that is taken away from you it’s devastating. It’s absolutely devastating. You feel like you lose your identity. You lose who you are.”

How he came up with the idea for Legacy Gyms:

“(I was traveling around the country as a personal trainer) and I started taking mental notes that every single gym is exactly the same. Every single time you walk into a gym there’s a front desk, there’s a machine section, there’s a cardio section, there’s a free weights section, there’s a little aerobics room tucked into a corner, there’s weights everywhere, there’s TV’s everywhere, and the vibe is the same. Literally, it didn’t matter where you were, the gyms were just the same. So, when I got back to Miami I started taking poster boards and I started making a dream board of what I envisioned a gym should be.”

On how he created his partner-based training regimen:

“I was training Marion Barber, who was a running back for the Dallas Cowboys. And I accidentally double booked. … I had one of my clients show up with him and she was an overweight woman. She was like 200 or 300 pounds. She was a big woman. And I put them through the exact same workout – obviously different weights – but the same exercises, the same rep count, the same rest period. And when they got done, they were high fiving each other, and they were smiling, and they both were soaked in sweat, and a light bulb went off. … I thought, ‘I could do my philosophy of how I train professional athletes with anyone. Anyone from a seven-year-old to a 70-year-old can do these workouts. And so, right then and there, I was like I got to come up with my own system.”

What his “No Days Off” mantra means:

“About one year after opening Legacy, one of my clients, Rico Love, we were having a conversation about how we don’t ever take a day off. Just no days off. And we didn’t mean it from the grind and the hard work, we meant that we don’t take a day off that’s been given to us. So, no days off is never taking a day off on you. It’s a commitment to becoming your best self. Basically, the premise behind it is that if you wake up and you have air in your lungs, and your eyes open, and you can put your feet on the ground, then make the most out of that day.”